once an infertile…

Two recent experiences have left me wondering if that feeling will ever disappear. The inevitable dread that lingers over those announcements. The inescapable jealousy that arises when I see how easy it is for others…

The first was an announcement I’d been anticipating for a while, though that never makes it any easier. When they announced they were expecting their first child, an “oops” baby, it was like a punch in the gut. Thankfully, they told me in private before declaring it in front of 100 close friends and family at their wedding. As I got my period.

Their little girl is a real love. Though I nearly had a breakdown at her baby blessing ceremony over a year ago. So yeah, her parents, my cousins, are expecting again. This child will be the closest cousin in age to our child. Part of me is so excited about that. Yet the other side, the forever infertile, simply has a hard time accepting how simple it seems to merely want a child and be able to create one, just like that.

Or two. Or four.

The other morning while working at home I answered the phone to a surprising voice on the other end. A childhood friend has somehow tracked down my home number. I should point out there is a reason I’m not on ‘farcebook’ (thanks shinejil).’ I don’t want to be. Yet I was intrigued by the call. I hadn’t spoken to this friend since around her wedding 12 years ago. Aside from our past, we had nothing in common and I was resigned to let the friendship fade…

Yet here she was, on the phone. Of course I asked how she’s been. I knew she had married a very successful doctor and had retired from her own career to have children.

“I have FOUR babies!” she screamed into the phone. Incredulous, I ask “Four? Wow…” That was even more than I had imagined. She went on to tell me how “they all have the same face” and how she has been “so busy!” with them. But that’s not all.

Turns out she was happy with three. She had the “right” house, the “right” car, everything was “perfect.” So she did what any fully satisfied fertile might do. She had her tubes tied. And then she got pregnant AGAIN. Had her fourth baby just a month before our 20 year high school reunion that I wouldn’t have gone to if you paid me. “I was so chubby!” she said. “You should have seen me!”

Unfuckingbelievable. Her fucking tubes were tied! Gulp.

Breathing…

And then the inevitable. “So tell me about YOU! Tell me everything!”

Crap.

I put a great spin on my life, the short version. In many ways, I do have a wonderful life. I have an awesome loving husband, a great rewarding career, and possibly a brand new baby on the way.

I told her that, so far, I had not been so blessed in the baby department.

I told her, very briefly, how we had tried unsuccessfully for years to build our family, and how thrilled we are to adopt this new baby, due to be born any day now.

“Oh, how exciting!” she screamed. “So is it your first?!”

Hmmm…

“No… we lost our first,” I explained. “That was a few years ago.”

I didn’t let it linger. I added how overjoyed we are to finally become parents after so long.

Then we got into a discussion about being older moms. She joked that she would be in a walker at 43 bringing her youngest to kindergarten. Considering we’re the same age and her kids range from 2 to 9, I didn’t really find it amusing, but I must have somehow forced a chuckle.

Then, thankfully, I was relieved when we exchanged emails and said our goodbyes. And I felt a little sick to my stomach.

As Lindsay pointed out, in a very short while, none of this should bother me much. And it’s true.

But I also can’t help feel like it’s enough already. I’m tired of feeling that pit in my stomach.

I have so much excitement and anticipation about this baby soon to be born, knowing that in all likelihood we are (finally) on the brink of parenthood. So much joy and happiness. I don’t take for granted one bit of all the goodness we’ve been experiencing with K’s pregnancy and our growing family. Not for one minute.

And yet.

Even when I finally do become a mother, that won’t wipe away the wounds of infertility. All the years of pain and anguish, my body’s betrayal, the loss of my son.

I believe in my heart that motherhood will bring great joy. I know beyond any doubt that the child who enters our lives will be loved with my whole heart. No reservations, no regrets. None.

But infertility has taken a great toll. And sometimes it feels like I’m still paying…

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~ by luna on May 24, 2009.

23 Responses to “once an infertile…”

  1. Sending you many hugs.

  2. I understand what you are saying. I do not know if it ever leaves you, though some aspects may get easier with time. I think it changes your perspective on things, especially children and parenting. I think I will always feel tied to the ALI community, even after I become a parent.

  3. It’s going to sound very disingenuous coming from me, but me too, Luna, me too.

    One of the reasons I’m not on facebook is because I don’t want these conversations with those people. Hard enough having them with happy-go-lucky strangers and passers-through. Ugh.

    Thinking of you as this winds down. I check in daily.

  4. You will probably be surprised to hear how this post helped me – it made me realize that it is ok to be sad – still – about my infertility and loss. I’ve reached the 4-year mark and still no baby, but I have been gravitating towards the “suck it up” mode of coping rather than recognizing that it is still ok to be sad and that it will be ok to be sad for a while, even if we should ever get to parent.

    Thanks.

  5. Like, Tash, I check in daily. I’m waiting for some happy news for you, Luna, because I know it’s been a shitstorm of disappointment for you for far too long.

    I don’t know how you could even stand to talk to that old friend. I’m all tied up in angst just reading about your conversation. Ugh.

    And though I’ve only recently learned a bit about infertility, I certainly can relate to the idea that it takes a toll. It absolutely does and like you, I’m not convinced you ever stop feeling jilted by it all.

    XO.

  6. I think you’re right… while it might get easier, some of those nagging wounds will always be there. I can hardly imagine how *most* people plan their families, and how most take it for granted. Your long lost childhood friend story reminds me of a similar experience I had, where the person naturally assumed that I had children. It really hurts.

    I will keep my fingers crossed for you, and will check your blog for news about the little one.

  7. I suspect that no matter how many years go by & how great my life is, there will always be a pang in my heart when it comes to the matter of children. Here’s hoping your personal pain will soon be lightened a little with this new baby!

  8. Sigh. I’ve got a reunion coming up and I really, really don’t want to go. And this post reminds me of one reason why.

  9. I think of it as very similar to a scar I have on my arm for trying to stick my arm behind the sofa to get something (please don’t laugh at my stupidity). When it happened, it was really painful and I screamed and I didn’t know how to get my arm out and I was scared and after I got my arm out, it was throbbing and bleeding. And after a few weeks, it was a somewhat sore scab. And now, years later, a different house (though still the same sofa) later, it’s just a scar. I only think about it when I see it, though it doesn’t hurt anymore.

  10. Luna,
    I get incredibly upset at the unfairness of it all when things like this happen. I don’t think even after becoming a parent this annoyance goes away for me – news like Octomom, people getting pregnant on the pill, with their tubes tied bugs me. I hope it becomes like Mel’s scar in the future for all of us.

  11. After having been a mom for almost a year now (!), I still absolutely have those feelings of “us” and “them”. I still feel that very few people (blogosphere not included) understand what we’ve gone through, the decisions we’ve made, and the decisions we continue to make as adoptive parents. Yes, it has gotten much easier. Yes, I no longer cringe at the sight of every pregnant woman or child I see. But it’s still there. Honestly, I’m happy that it hasn’t gone away completely. It makes me who I am, including the parent I am, and I’m proud of that.

    I am checking in daily and am just so, so, so thrilled for you and for this child. I just can’t wait for him or her to see all the love that awaits! I know he/she can feel it already – but it will reach a whole new level on the outside!!!

  12. I absolutely know that punch in your gut feeling, Luna. I too don’t think it will ever go away. Here I am in my current state w/ donor eggs, and yet, I feel that pain every time I learn of a friend becoming pregnant. It’s the ease at which so many people achieve their pregnancies that just crushes me, time and time again. I’m so bad I even felt my heart sink when a coworker told me she just got her IUD out and started prenatals because, she said, “You just never know.” I think my heart dropped b/c I knew it would only be about a month or two before she found out she was pregnant–just like that. Anyway I so wish I didn’t feel that way, but I just don’t see it ever going away.
    On another note… Counting down the days for you!

  13. Oh Luna, I wish I could tell you it will all be better once your baby is here – and it will be better, I promise you that – but from my experience those wounds will still be there and still healing.

    I read this post with tears in my eyes – tears for you, tears for me and tears for all of us who have been through so much.

  14. Someone told me infertility would become a “blip” once we adopted. Not so, at least for me. I’m not consumed with getting pregnant anymore, that’s true. But the sadness is still there and will often resurface when I don’t expect it. I have trouble now grieving our failure to adopt a second time – we gave it our best try – a 2-year wait!

    You will feel better, as others have said – looking forward to the big news.

  15. In the moment, it was easy to say that it’ll all be minimized soon, but reading it, I felt a familiar pull of jealousy and sadness. Haves and have-nots, even if what they have I would never want, still…

  16. I too marvel at how egg and sperm can meet so quickly for some people. I’m currently waiting for my sister to announce her second pregnancy — she’s my baby sis — and I know I will find it difficult (I’ve got the bottle of wine ready for when we get the news!).

    As many other people have commented, I don’t think that the experience of infertility ever leaves. It is a grief experience and like all other times of grief, the pain dulls and lessons over time but it does not ever go away. It makes us who we are, shaping our character. Mind you, I’m pretty much done with character building! But my experience with infertility, and now waiting for a baby through adoption, allows me to emphasize with others in a way not previously possible. It’s hard to think of all of this as a blessing — and I can’t really go there — but I think I’m beginning to see what purpose it can serve in my life and the lives of others.

    Anyway, thanks for this post. Thinking of you as you anticipate motherhood — and hope like crazy the domperidone kicks in:)

  17. I read this post earlier today, and its been on my mind ever since–it really is mind blowing how some people take the GIFT for granted. I pray your heart will definitely be over-flowing with the joy of being this soon-to-be little person’s mommy–and that the infertility pain WILL subside for you over time. Mine still lingers–I do like to think of it as a scar though–it tells a story–one that is painful, but one Ill never forget.

  18. Just reading that made me cringe. Shudder really. *sigh*

  19. Excellent, excellent post. I can completely relate.

  20. I don’t know if this will come out right or sound like whining. But even with my three who are here with me, I still feel the pang, the angst because the three I have also represent three I don’t. Nothing can take that sting, that gut wrenching loss, away. And while I am very aware of how lucky I am, I do still envy those for whom it came easier and who live without knowing the loss of a child. I can only imagine how those feelings magnify when there is no living child, no successful pregnancy to temper them.
    xxoo

  21. It’s hard to hold the rage and sorrow in when I see people having children effortlessly. I put on the fake face and smile and act interested but my heart is breaking. It’s even worse when I see parents who don’t seem to be able to control or raise their children. My (EX)best friends have 2 children that are unruly and undisciplined. It’s not their fault; it’s the parents. I am struck by the unfairness of desprately wanting a child to call me Mommy and the inablility to conceive while the Exies just popped them out and can’t figure out how to raise them. I think I’m going to go cry in the bathroom now. (i’m at work)

  22. […] grief of losing my mother, whenever that may be, I know I have so much to be grateful for. While infertility still clouds and colors the way in which I experience the world, even from where I now stand, I know how […]

  23. Crap is right. I found this post through your year in review and wow… could I have written it? OH YES! The hardest thing about infertility is knowing what to say so as not to tromp on someone else’s joy yet tell my truth. And it’s even harder when people don’t get it, but well, they don’t mean to hurt you either. Just had a dear friend find out she’s having twins. She’ll have had four boys in four years and she goes on and on about how it’s always happened the first time they try (the first TWO were oopsies, not sure how that could have happened but…) and well, my silence hurts her. What do you say? You say nothing at all. And be thankful they don’t get it because that would mean their heart feels ripped up and scarred over alot too. It’s too much, but really , in the end, what can i do but feel and deal and work it out. And write and search for people who get it.

    Thank you for this post. I’m in bed today, ten days postop from a hysterectomy after never getting the privilege of carrying a child to term and giving birth. And although I am Momma in every sense of the word, I am still mad about the loss of infertility. I don’t know if/when it will go away. I’m not holding my breath that it will. I am however, trusting that living with it will make me stronger, more compassionate, more sensitive, more. That’s all I can do. Blessings to you and your family!

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